US warplanes and artillery bombarded southern parts of Fallujah where troops were trying to squeeze Sunni fighters into an ever-smaller cordon yesterday. The military estimated at least 13 US soldiers were killed, with more than 200 wounded soldiers flown to the military's main hospital in Europe. The insurgent death toll was estimated at 600 with no word on civilian casualties. Meanwhile, US forces found and freed a starving Iraqi taxi driver who was chained to a wall. The man said he had been held and beaten by his captors for 10 days.

• Heavy fighting also continued in the northern city of Mosul, where insurgents overran several police stations, the US military said. At left below, one militant, carrying a police flak jacket and grenade launcher, roamed the streets.

• In Baghdad a car bomb was exploded on a central street, killing at least 17 people and wounding at least eight, police said.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, the guerrilla leader turned Nobel Peace Prize winner who forced his people's plight into the world spotlight, died yesterday at a French military hospital. Arafat was flown to France Oct. 29 after nearly three years of being penned in his West Bank headquarters by Israeli tanks. In the aftermath of the news:

• Tens of thousands of Palestinains poured into the streets of the Gaza Strip in a spontaneous show of grief.

• A military funeral was scheduled today in Cairo, a location that allows Arab leaders to avoid travel to the West Bank, where Israel controls access.

• Concerned about possible Palestinian rioting, Israeli officials sealed the West Bank and Gaza Strip and increased security at Jewish settlements.

• Former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas was elected chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization yesterday, putting him on track to become the next overall Palestinian leader.

Airliners shuttled hundreds of trapped foreigners out of the Ivory Coast yesterday as South Africa convened urgent peace talks on a crisis that has seen government-led antiforeigner mob violence threaten to destabilize West Africa. Amid the mayhem, more than 4,000 inmates of the country's largest penitentiary escaped through the sewers and are believed hiding in a forest in the middle of Abidjan, officials said. Escapes included robbers and murderers.

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